European Union Reportedly Opens Cartel Investigation Into German Car Industry

Discussion in 'Auto News' started by GTPNewsWire, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

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  2. BKGlover

    BKGlover

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    Well...that's gonna be quite damming if it's true. Not sure what lasting effects it would cause though.
     
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  3. Dennisch

    Dennisch Premium

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    They all pay a fine and that's the end of it.
     
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  4. Eggstor

    Eggstor Premium

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    The French taking over the remainder of the German car industry?
     
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  5. Disco_Volante

    Disco_Volante

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    I have a question, if the cars could have lower emissions during tests, why did the engineers switch off the low-emission mode after said tests were over? What are the downsides?

    I personally don't see the point of manufacturers lying about emissions if they've already spent their money in lowering them.
     
  6. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    The effect so far is the pull out of Motorsport. Volkswagen no longer in WRC and Audi no longer in Le Mann. It's costing them a fortune and, imo serves them right, as surely it was obvious that they would get caught out with this.

    Although, Ive got nothing against them I'm just glad that someone else is getting a chance to win whilst they are suffering for their sins.
     
  7. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    These are customer cars. Whenever the car thinks it's being tested, it reduces emissions. Afterwards it returns to normal.
     
  8. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    Probably because lower emission mode means lower power ?
     
  9. desmodan

    desmodan

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    Fairly simple really .
    Everyone always says that their German diesel is so much more responsive and powerful than the competition .
    Why ? Because they're right !
    Unfortunately the easiest and cheapest way to make an engine produce more power
    (which is what we've all been asking for) is to make it burn more fuel , which in turn produces more pollutants.
    The other way is to make the engines more efficient but that's expensive and could have effects on the longevity of the engine , oh and it's expensive .
     
  10. David Brooks

    David Brooks

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    What the others said. But also the VW cars seemed to be able to meet the emission standards without using the urea additive that the competition had to use. This meant the cars didn't have to have the separate urea tank and more convenience for the user. However it was all BS....
     
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  11. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

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    I really hope they uncover the German version of Pablo Escobar in all of this...something like Don Hans or Don Gunter.
     
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  12. desmodan

    desmodan

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    These urea based (pig piss to you and me) systems are no different than all the other ineffective exhaust based offerings, cat converters, egr, dpf, the list goes on. All they do is fudge the results after the engine has already produced the pollutants.
     
  13. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    You say fudge.. But then if all the systems contain the pollutants then, all Ok ?
     
  14. desmodan

    desmodan

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    No. Not all ok. Because they are using these adjusted results to reduce the emissions rating and therefore the amount of your hard earned cash it would take to tax your car
     
  15. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    That had nothing to do with the car manufacturers it was a just a crafty game that our government created and then ultimately lost because they didn't realise just how clever the car manufacturers could be.
     
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  16. desmodan

    desmodan

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    Trust me I'm the last one to collude with government policy but I think that these rules were brought in with the best intentions .
    If Nike fitted Yusain Bolts shoes with warp drive would his records still stand ? There's nothing to say that warp drive is banned in international athletics !
    It's the principal that's important. Rules were set and certain manufacturers came up with ways to circumvent these rules. That doesn't make it right .
     
  17. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    Of course, I'm not trying to justify VAG groups cheating method, I feel that they have got there just desserts as they have made lots of cash and market share over their rivals who haven't been cheating.

    But if their customers have paid less to tax their cars on the back of it then great, as I'm sure you will agree the tax system, (in the UK), around CO2 emissions was just a smoke screen for the gov to earn more money. I'm glad the fools failed to realise how clever and quick the car manufacturers were to adapt, (as in the ones who didn't cheat).
     
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  18. desmodan

    desmodan

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    If you think we pay a lot for car tax , let's ask some of our European members how much it costs to tax their cars ? I think you may be surprised .
     
  19. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    Your right I have no idea of other countries tax policies.
     
  20. desmodan

    desmodan

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    Basically. Governments , Car manufacturers .
    They're all out to screw us out of what's left over .
     
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  21. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    It's not hard to see the purpose of such a cartel, speculatively. Is there doubt among any of the car buying public that German cars are routinely the best engineered? Indeed that Germans are the best engineers? How better to establish that fact than for German cars to make the most power, yet pollute the least?

    Despite token competition between the brands, the real goal was the implanted consumer perception of German quality and engineering above all others; after all the VW buyer of today is an Audi buyer in 5 years and a Porsche buyer in 20. Its best not to muddy the waters with a Toyota somewhere in between...

    What comes next is a 25% tariff on German cars to the United States, probably.
     
  22. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    While many cars certainly have inappropriate CO2 emissions and mpg ratings (which are the same thing) compared to the real world at the moment, Dieselgate was never about CO2, and so never about road tax brackets which are largely based on CO2 emissions across Europe. It was about NOx, or oxides of nitrogen.

    The 'defeat device' existed as a countermeasure to Euro 6 emissions regulations. The only major change to diesel emissions from Euro 5 to Euro 6 was the decrease in permissible NOx emissions, from 0.18g/km to 0.08g/km - CO2 emissions did not change, nor did particulate emissions. The punitive CARB regulations were similar in aiming to reduce NOx, to 0.05g/mile.

    A lot of manufacturers explored Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), but Volkswagen didn't and sold cars cheaply on the strength of not needing this expensive technology or annoying top-ups of urea solution. Dieselgate exploded when a university research department captured live emissions data from cars on road tests were not only nowhere near meeting NOx limits, but sometimes 6 times over the limits. Yet on a rolling road, the cars were within the limits.

    The 'defeat device' seemed to detect when the car was in motion but not physically moving - easy enough to do with GPS, but it would also if one axle was moving without the other, if there's a prolonged period at a constant speed without steering input and so on - and shunt the engine map to an extremely lean mode. Then it would meet the NOx limits, simply through not burning as much fuel. Get it out on the road and the map was normal, and NOx was off the scale.

    Over the time that NOx limits have fallen with subsequent Euro emissions regulations (they were at 0.5g/km with Euro 3 in 2000), and cars have been meeting them, urban NOx levels haven't changed, despite older cars falling out of use and the vehicle parc mainly consisting of cars built in the last 5 years (since Euro 5). The car fleet's NOx emissions should have fallen to around a quarter, but cities are not seeing it - because cars haven't been meeting these limits in any other condition than test conditions.

    NOx isn't like CO2. It doesn't cause global warming (well, the NOx family is classed as greenhouse gases, so it does I guess), or 'cause global warming', and cars aren't taxed on it. NOx, in the form of NO2, comes out of the exhaust and stays largely where it is. It causes local pollution like smog and can lead to severe health issues, including heart and breathing problems.

    It's estimated that more than 20,000 people die a year from health issues caused by NO2. Just in the UK. Scale that up to worldwide and back to Euro 1 regulations in 1992 and you have millions of premature deaths. Caused by car manufacturers selling cars that meet reduced NOx ratings when tested but really due to using sleight of hand to carry on regardless.

    That's not strictly true.

    Yes, the engines still make whatever they make - although thanks to advances in engine design, modern engines really do burn cleaner than older ones - but the purpose of after-combustion treatment is to stop the worst of it then coming out and going into the air or your lungs.

    Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) trap huge chunks of soot in a fine mesh and then incinerate them when appropriate. They're not hugely popular, because eventually they clog up (sooner if you drive diesels on short journeys a lot and don't let the regeneration cycle complete properly) and are expensive to replace, but they stop the brown and black smoke that you used to see coming out of diesel cars routinely. It's always easy to spot a diesel car that's in need of attention because of the smoke - but they all used to be like that.

    Catalytic convertors trap hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and convert them into carbon dioxide and water. Unburned hydrocarbons cause all manner of health issues, as does carbon monoxide. Carbon dioxide... well that has its own problems, and cats are certainly unpopular on the basis that we have to strap a box to our exhaust to make carbon dioxide which we're then told is evil and we're taxed on, but it's the lesser evil to an extent - it moves the problem from local to global, so you won't die of it, but your great-grandkids might.

    Selective Catalytic Reduction technologies like AdBlue combine an additive with exhaust emissions to reduce NOx to nitrogen (78% of air is nitrogen), water vapour and carbon dioxide.

    It's not really 'fudging' anything. What comes out of the exhaust pipe really is different from what comes out of the exhaust port. It's not taken out and put somewhere else to be chucked out at a later date, it's treated as it passes down the system and is chemically or physically altered to be less immediately harmful to health.
     
  23. desmodan

    desmodan

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    Not strictly true but probably partly .
    Admittedly I haven't a clue as to the long term effects of Adblue but all the others seem to cause as many problems as they fix. I know from experience that many of these systems are detrimental to the overall efficiency of an engine often resulting in increased fuel consumption , loss of power and reduced service life .
    They are all ways around a problem rather actually fixing the cause , but that would be expensive so probably won't happen anytime soon.
    Essentially using fossil fuels produces pollutants , so until they are replaced with whatever technology comes next we're stuck with it .
     
  24. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    That rather depends on what you consider a problem.

    All of these technologies are designed to reduce locally harmful tailpipe emissions. That's the problem they address, and they all do it very successfully. They stop crap coming out of the back of the car and killing people near the cars.

    The problems they cause are largely financial, and for the end user. AdBlue needs topping up every few thousand miles (and it turns out that the German manufacturers may have colluded on AdBlue tank sizes). DPFs and cats need replacing after tens of thousands of miles, rarely affecting the people who buy the cars new. The catalytic convertor also has a unique problem, whereby it shifts from crap that comes out the back of the car and kills people nearby, to make new crap that may have a longer-term and more remote effect in the shape of global climate change.

    Like all engineering issues, it's a trade-off. You trade reduction in health issues from local tailpipe emissions for increase in vehicle running costs. The problem is, more than ever, one for the people actually using the vehicles and not one for anyone around them.

    Absolutely. But then unburned hydrocarbons, particulates, carbon monoxide and NOx emissions have killed several tens of millions of people - and do we need to mention the utterly deadly scourge that was leaded petrol*. Technologies like cats, DPFs and SCR have ameliorated those effects considerably, and the trade-off for that is slightly shorter-lived ancillary engine components that have a cost to replace. Other tech has helped the engines themselves improve their efficiency, emissions and power, with cleaner burns. Vehicle manufacturers have been putting in a good shift, and those cars that do meet Euro 6 produce at least 63% less carbon monoxide, 90% less HC and NOx and 97% less particulate matter than engines that didn't meet Euro 1, 25 years ago.

    Manufacturers that have simply used software to disguise emissions so a Euro 3 car on the road looks like a Euro 6 car when tested may be responsible for fifteen million premature deaths worldwide that would have been prevented had the cars really been Euro 6 compliant.


    *Fun fact: The guy who invented the use of lead as an anti-knock agent in petrol, Thomas Midgley, also invented the chlorofluorocarbon for refrigeration, and through the health effects and atmospheric consequences of both may have killed more people than anyone or anything else in human history except age.
     
  25. desmodan

    desmodan

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    I'm not saying that reducing emissions of any kind is a bad idea ,in fact it's a great
    idea and I dare say that the vast majority of engineers and boffins are doing all they can within their fields . Just that these bolt on parts are a quick , easy and cheaper way of doing it and , in some cases , actually make things worse .

    One of the problems is the inherent ineffiency of the IC engine , Toyota claim that their latest generation of engine is a massive 38% efficient , under testbed conditions , so no doubt less than 20% in the real world .
    So much of its power is lost to friction , heat and making noise that precious little is left to actually propell the vehicle .
    If an engine can be made more efficient and therefore produce a given amount of usable energy for a smaller amount of fuel burnt then less pollutants would be emitted .

    These are the big questions for someone way above my pay grade .
    But to get back on topic , VAG , LIED TO MAKE MONEY , and they got caught .
     
  26. Eggstor

    Eggstor Premium

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    VAG is just one cog in the diesel story. Yes, it is a giant cog.

    I find it "odd" that they're being lumped in with Mercedes and BMW in the EU investigation referenced in the original post. After all, before the (US-market) Passat TDI came out, VAG rejected the diesel exhaust fluid "solution" that Mercedes/BMW adopted.

    As for the Euro 6/US EPA/CARB NOx emissions standards, I'm of the opinion that they are unobtainable by diesels without regressing performance to late-1970s US-market car performance. Like the manufacturers, I highly doubt that cars that go 0-60 mph in over 15 seconds and can't hit 70 mph (like the late '70s-early '80s VW diesels) can sell, especially when the competition, be it gas, hybrid, or full-electric, halves (or better) the 0-60 time and for the most part can hit triple-digit speeds. For reference, the gap in 0-60 times between gas and diesel cars back in the day wasn't nearly as large (most cars took over 10 seconds to hit 60 back in the late '70s-mid '80s), and the low top speed wasn't really an issue with the national 55-mph speed limit.

    Indeed, even after both parts of the 2015 VW 2.0L TDI (the "cleanest" of the 2.0L TDIs) US fix and the US fix for earlier Passat automatic TDIs are implemented, those cars require (and were granted) a waiver from the EPA/CARB standards. It is possible that the newer 3.0L TDIs will meet EPA and/or CARB standards when a fix is approved (it is also possible that even with a fix, they will need a waiver), but the remainder of the TDIs, both 2.0L and 3.0L, will need waivers if fixes are approved. At this point, those fixes haven't been approved.

    Also, the fact that Mercedes and FiatChrysler automotive/light-duty truck diesels are alleged to have similar defeat devices in US-market vehicles further lends credence to the notion that the current NOx emissions standards are effectively unobtainable.
     
  27. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    This has to be the worst thing that's ever happened in Germany.

    It's nice to hear that BMW, Mercedes, and VW maybe have been working together in the spirit of partnership. Too bad that partnership was designed to try to bypass regulations aimed at preventing them from harming people.
     
  28. desmodan

    desmodan

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    I can think of a few things around 70 years ago !
     
  29. TenEightyOne

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    Do we have an electric-specific thread? UK bans new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040. BBC.

    Different country fortunately :)
     
  30. Eggstor

    Eggstor Premium

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    Richard Hammond hardest hit (I would say Jezza or perhaps May, but they're not likely to still be driving in 2040).

    Good luck getting from London to Glasgow by non-public transit in less than 12 hours.